Mobile learning for business: Is your organization ready?

Mobile learning – it’s been a hot trend in business for a while now and shows no signs of slowing down. Currently mobile learning is a $15 billion industry, with growth estimates shooting up toward $38 billion by 2020. At the rate the industry is evolving, it’s important to understand how mobile learning fits into a company’s overall learning strategy.

Recent reports tell us that adopting some form of mobile learning strategy is among organizations’ top three business development priorities. Additionally, 1 in 3 learning managers are already delivering compliance and technical skills training via mobile devices. Recognizing that mobile learning is something we need to prioritize stems from our realization that we have to meet the demands of modern learners, or run the risk of losing top talent. What the modern learner demands is choice when it comes to learning and development (L&D).

The 70:20:10 model for learning tells us that employees retain most of their knowledge (70 percent) through social and informal learning and interaction. They retain 20 percent through formal training and 10 percent through formal education. It’s that self-directed or collaborative (informal) learning that tailors most to our employees’ needs and preferences. Diving deeper, this type of learning doesn’t just take place during work hours. It takes place before employees turn in for the evening, during their morning commute or while sipping an a.m. coffee.

Why might this be – why are employees taking initiative to learn and grow both during and after work hours? The answer is because millennials [the emerging workforce] realize technology and industries evolve so quickly that lifelong learning is a daily or weekly requirement. Like exercising the body, we should exercise our minds, opening them to new experiences and knowledge.

If the above explanation isn’t enough to convince you that mobile learning is a must in business, this might. By 2020, millennials will make up more than 50 percent of the corporate workforce. We know that millennials use their mobile devices more than any other age group. Pair mobile usage and millennials’ growing footprint in the workforce with their demand for professional development opportunities in their organizations, and it becomes evident that adopting a mobile learning strategy just makes sense.

Getting started or refining your mobile strategy

Everyone learns differently – whether on their own or in groups, by watching video or reading a book, by consuming long-form texts or bite-sized snippets. As learning professionals, we need to tailor the learning experience to fit the needs of all employees.

If you’re considering adopting mobile learning, or even refining your current mobile learning strategy, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Remember to keep collaboration at the forefront. 97 percent of employees and executives agree that the level of collaboration directly impacts the outcomes of a task or project. Providing a mobile environment conducive to collaborative learning among colleagues and experts will play to the strengths and preferences of the modern learner, while expanding their networks.
  • Incorporate gamification wherever possible. Gamification is they key to retaining engagement in learning, especially among younger generations. Millennials strive to have fun and develop professionally at the same time. Plus friendly competition to climb the “thought leader” ranks can’t hurt!
  • Offer quick desktop and mobile access to quality content. Adopting a native content library with collaborative tools and a network built around the library will keep modern learners from seeking answers on the internet, which leads to more distractions.

As the workforce of the future continues to evolve, methods of learning facilitation must keep evolving as well. Mobile is inevitable, and how we take our learning programs mobile is key to the successful development of our employees – the only way to guarantee a pipeline of well-trained, competent successors.